Belfast Telegraph

Debt worries spiral over Christmas

The number of hard-pressed citizens seeking legal advice over debt burdens soared by more than a third in the run-up to Christmas, it has been revealed.

New Beginning, a group of lawyers and businessmen formed to defend ordinary people at risk of losing their homes, said it was getting around 75 phone calls a day - a 35% hike from July.

David Hall, one of the founding members, revealed the spike was down to people worrying they could not pay their debts and provide for Christmas.

"People were extremely anxious before Christmas and wondering if action would be taken against them if they were unable to make some of their payments," said Mr Hall.

"They were asking what should they do. Santa Claus has to come, that's very clear. And Santa should come for youngsters."

Mr Hall said New Beginning, which has given legal representation to around 400 people since it was established a year ago, advised people that their debt would still be there in the New Year.

"In order for people to enjoy Christmas, we encouraged them to do so, but not in an extravagant way," Mr Hall went on.

"The children should not have to suffer, therefore we believe the creditors should have to hang fire."

He said the non-profit organisation noticed a spike in the number of people coming forward from July this year.

"They were looking for assurances, but what do you say to people who have children and a mountain of debt? The debt will still be there in January."

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From Belfast Telegraph